Posted by ESC on July 18, 2007
In Reply to: Stinking rich posted by R. Berg on July 17, 2007
: : : My father has done extensive research on origins of phrases. The only one he couldn't find was dead ringer which, having looked at your meanings, I can now explain to him. However, I noted when looking for stinking rich that one person asked if this was due to rich people being buried in church. The answers pooh pooh'd the idea though not giving an actual explanation. I would be interested to find out if you CAN come up with one as that's the one my father has found. The idea was scoffed at because we all tend to shy away from the stench of rotting bodies! You must remember that attendance of church was compulsory in the old days so, when a rich person (the only ones who were given that signal 'honour') was buried inside the church, the other people couldn't avoid the stench as they HAD to attend.
: : I don't know the derivation of 'stinking rich' but doubt that it has anything to do with burial. Surely 'stinking' is just an intensifier; as in 'stinking drunk' and 'we don't need no stinking badges'.
: You say the explanation relating to burial is the one your father has found. Can you reveal where he found it and what the historical evidence to support it is? ~rb
My references say: stinking as an intensifer has been around since 13c and stinking meaning extremely drunk since the mid 1800s in the U.S.